Wednesday, August 19, 2009

*lizzie starr: Confessions of a Back to School Junkie

Do I Really Need Another Journal?

Back to school…sales of pens, notebooks, all kinds of supplies. It fair makes me salivate. Have I mentioned that I love paper. Fresh clean sheets. Colors of the rainbow. Spiraled into notebooks or pressed into folders displaying a favorite character. Even sheets gently used on one side that one day will hold the draft of my best-selling novel. The smooth feel of a thick ream, or the rougher texture of handmade. I love paper.

Okay, I’ll admit it—it’s more than just love. It’s an obsession. These back to school displays are heaven come to earth. But as I was lovingly placing a small journal festooned with Cap’n Jack Sparrow into my cart, I wondered what to do with yet another journal.

Of course there are many excellent personal reasons for a journal and no doubt most of you have tried them out one time or another. But, what uses can a writer find for that stack of beautiful, funny, inspirational, ‘I just couldn’t resist’ journals?

Story work. This is pretty obvious. Plotting, character planning, jotting bits of dialog, setting, the odd scene. A journal can be a great carry along item, fitting into a bag. The hard cover makes it easy to write in any location. Want a little more organization? Use those nifty stick-on divider tabs. When you’re struck with sudden inspiration, this story journal will be your best friend.

Lots of ideas for new plots? Characters? Titles? All crowding your mind? Create an idea journal. There doesn’t need to be any organization here—just fill the pages as the ideas flow. When you get stuck, this gem could be a personal brainstorming tool.

A fan of The Artist’s Way? Use a journal for your morning pages.

Going to a conference or workshop? Keep a journal specifically for lectures and participation notes. The small size can be easier to handle when writing on your lap and once again that hard cover works great. Using a journal that’s spiral bound makes note taking even easier.

If you love inspirational quotes, you probably have a multitude of scraps of paper, cards, sticky notes, even fortune cookie slips lying around. Compile your favorites, one to a page in a journal and you’ll always be able to find inspiration.

Do you read a lot? Have shelves of books? (Is this a silly question?) Use a journal to record the books you’ve read and your opinion and comments. You can also keep track of where you’ve given reviews. When you read ‘how to’ books, use a journal for your notes and practice exercises. These will then become your own Cliff’s Notes for Swain or Maass.

Multi-published? Writing a series? Tell me true, can you remember all the little details about each character? To keep all your people straight and avoid re-using characters or names, keep ‘em all in a journal.

Have a nice selection of smaller journals that don’t seem quite enough for larger purposes? Use one for keeping track of writing expenses. Use another to record that long list of computer passwords we seem to end up with.

That’s a few ideas of how to use those journals you’ve just had to buy. I’m sure you can think of more. Hey, how about a journal just for the HWG writing exercises?

So, did I really need that Cap’n Jack journal? You tell me.

Order The Prince of Dark Ness:
Torn between duty and love, Morghan stands alone to protect two worlds from an ancient Fire Elemental. He’s loved Coralie for long upon long, yet never admitted his desire.

Until now.

If he chooses Coralie over battle, will his worlds be lost? Or will his choices doom them all?

Author and lunch lady--what a combination! Although *lizzie starr is physically in Nebraska, her mind is usually elsewhere, discovering tales of the fantastic and the romantic. Find out more about *lizzie at and


  1. *lizzie, you need TWO of those journals! Thanks for all the great ideas :)

  2. I wish I still kept a journal used too and then got out of the habit.